By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”IZON-EBEÂ Oil Producing Communities Forum (IOCPF) in Warri, Delta, yesterday disowned the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), saying the insurgent armed group has lost focusÂ and the appropriate authorities should carry out a full-scale investigation toÂ bring the criminals to book.
In a statement by the forum condemning the attack on Atlas Cove Jetty, Lagos, by MEND, signed by the president and secretary general of the forum, Chief Favour Izoukumor and Mr. Moses Edougha respectively, the forum said the militant group was exposing the oil communities to grave environmental hazards with its unrestrained bombing of oil facilities.
According to them, â€œwe make bold to disown the so-called MEND and without equivocation declare their action criminal and thus require the appropriate authorities to carry out a full-scale investigation and ensure that the culprits are made to face the full wrath of the law.
â€œWe condemn also so-called MENDâ€™s encroachment into areas outside the geographical and cultural boundary of Niger-Delta. Such act is not in consonance with the struggle and tends to breed regional conflict.
â€œThe oil producing communities for which the struggle for economic and political actualization hinges, and which MEND claims to be fighting for, do not agree with MENDâ€™s insubordination to our respected national leaders and various spirited individuals and groupsâ€™ call to stop vandalization of oil installations for the interest of these communities and Nigeria as a wholeâ€, they added.
Continuing, the forum said â€œthese abnormal trends of vandalization of oil facilities and the bombing of Atlas Cove Jetty now showed that MEND has derailed long ago
â€œIf MEND has ever meant well for sufferings of the region, MEND would have considered the economic andÂ environmental effects of their actions, which is not solution-directed, but rather exposes oil producing communities to serious environmental effects.
â€œMEND has lost focus and has consequently lost the confidence of the people they claimed to be fighting for with their continual criminal exploits.
â€œWe and our communities will not allow this criminal infiltration into the genuine agitation by these criminal elements hijacking the struggle for self aggrandizement. The attack on the Atlas Cove Jetty is an irresponsible oneâ€.